Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #116, December 1968

“The Gorilla Reporter”

Ever keen for a news scoop, our Jimmy agrees to aid Professor Thorne with his experimental telepathy helmet at the local zoo. If the device works Jimmy will be able to read the thoughts of the animals, but the lion, giraffe, rhino and gorilla appear immune.

Jimmy reasons that Superman might be able to tinker with the electronics and get the helmet to work, so he triggers his signal watch. Just then the gorilla reaches out of its cage and taps the remote control, and suddenly Jimmy is growling — and he swings away, screeching! Moreover, the gorilla is now talking. It seems the helmet has switched their brains! “Yipes!” cries Jimmy, as he looks down at his gorilla body.

Superman arrives and is amazed at what’s happened. Professor Thorne realises that there are 56,786,934 different button combinations on the remote control, and he’ll never be able to find the one that reverses the effect. Superman steps in and tries all the combinations in seconds, but none have the desired result: Jimmy’s brain is stuck.

While Jimmy goes home, Superman flies Jimmy’s body to a safe place with plenty of bananas. Later, Jimmy dons a natty suit and goes to work at the Daily Planet. Lois attacks the hairy brute with a broom, while Perry leaps onto a desk for safety. Jimmy offers an explanation to his nonplussed colleagues, “…so get used to me! I may be a gorilla for life, carrying on as a cub reporter!” Perry helpfully hangs a sign around Jimmy’s neck that reads “Bonzo intelligent gorilla! Tame! No Danger!”

And, indeed, Jimmy carries on with his career as though nothing unusual has happened. He helps out at a wrestling match, and comes to the aid of a gorilla movie star that’s about to hit the big time. But, as time goes on, Jimmy starts to become depressed. “The experiment made a monkey out of me…!” he says, forlornly.

Out on patrol with Superman one night, Jimmy uses his ape abilities to trounce some gun-wielding crooks and rescue some kids from a burning building. Later, Clark Kent has to enter a bank vault to pick up the Daily Planet payroll. Unfortunately, as he counts the cash, the time lock closes and he’s trapped. He’s aware that he’ll probably have to surrender his secret identity — Clark would suffocate if he were to stay in the vault all night — but, as he prepares to do so, Jimmy arrives and opens the vault with his gorilla strength!

Meanwhile, the gorilla, in Jimmy’s body, has escaped, and runs riot in Metropolis. Jimmy swings into action and saves his body before it can come to harm.

Superman has a brainwave. As the gorilla plays with Professor Thorne’s control device, the Man of Steel activates Jimmy’s signal watch. Suddenly, Jimmy’s and the gorilla’s minds have switched back. The mysterious effect was caused by the watch’s ultrasonic signal altering the telepathizer machine. Sadly, back at the Daily Planet, the gorilla, now with its proper mind restored, runs rampant — and Perry ends up swinging from the light fittings!

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A fabulous Silver Age masterpiece of gorilla silliness. They really don’t make ’em like this any more! Written by Otto Binder and drawn by Curt Swan. The story originally appeared eleven years previously, in Jimmy Olsen #24. Obviously editor Mort Weisinger thought the tale a strong one, as both times it was cover featured. Here’s a look at the earlier version:

Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #24, December 1957

The cover of #24 is by Swan and Stan Kaye, while #116’s cover is by Swan, inked by Mike Esposito.

©2008 DC Comics